Friday, September 16, 2005
You're a B&H!
My sister is a little over three years younger than me. When I was very young I used to tease her incessantly. I was pretty nasty at times. I'm not a bad guy. I don't know what prompted me to act the way I did, but I was really mean to her sometimes. Maybe that's the way young boys are to their baby sisters.
We used to live on a farm in Ringoes, New Jersey. There was a barn not far from the house. We used to climb up on the roof of the barn just because we could. One day, I took a bed sheet with me and told her to hold it and jump. "You'll float down. It will be just like a parachute," I told her. Fortunately, she didn't do it or I wouldn't have had a sister to harass after that day. I mean, it was probably three stories tall. And she's a blonde.
She was quite the avid doll collector. She had all kinds of them. What did I know about dolls? The only one I recognized was Barbie. She became the object of my desire. By that, I mean, she became my attack doll. Poor Barbie. I don't know how many Barbies and other dolls she had, but, back then, I was an army of one. I used to take them apart and leave them that way in her room, all scattered about. She'd come in from playing with the neighbor girls and find doll heads dangling from the ceiling, where I would tie a string around their necks and tack them up. Boy, would she freak. My mother would make me put them all back together again, but it was fun to see her reaction. Before I knew what a "mature" Barbie was supposed to look like, I would pencil in nipples and pubic hair. I wasn't even old enough to know what pubic hair was, but I drew it anyway. Maybe, I had stumbled upon some father's nudist colony magazines. Boys were good at finding that kind of stuff.
One time, my father sent my mother to a tire store. Back then, not many women worked. They were stay at home moms. Right next door, there was a business called B&H Welding. We were just sitting in the car patiently waiting for Mom to come out. All of a sudden, I blurted out, "You're a B&H." She wasn't quite old enough to read.
"What did you call me?" At that age, you tend to get more out of the tone of a voice than what you are being called.
"I said, you are a B&H!" My voice got heavier and meaner. "B&H!" She started to get upset. The more upset she got, the more I called her that.
By this time, she was crying, but I was relentless. "You're nothing but a no good B&H, you B&H, you."
By the time our mother came out, she was bawling her guts out, screaming like a banshee, all red in the face. "Hey, what's going on out here? What's wrong, Sweetie?" my mother asked her.
"David called me a B&H!" She knew I was going to get into trouble.
"What is a B&H, David?" she asked sternly.
"I don't know, Mom. It's that welding shop next door. I don't know what came over her."
My mother calmed her down. "Don't worry, it's nothing. It's not a bad word. It doesn't mean anything," she said in a comforting voice while hugging her.
In the meantime, I was waiting for that all too familiar "You just wait for your father to get home" phrase I would often hear. That usually scared me into my senses for a couple of days, since I knew what the sound of a belt was like sliding out of a pair of pants.
I don't remember now if I did get in trouble that day, but, Maggie? I just want to apologize for doing all those rotten things to you back then.
And you know what? You're not a B&H and you never were one. You're a...